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Israel tripContrary to what you may think, there is no need to bring suitcases full of books.  For your academic courses, what we do recommend is to bring books published in the United States that are hard to obtain and more expensive in Israel. If there are books printed in Israel that you need to purchase we will either organize a group purchase or advise you to where to buy them locally.

Important things to remember:

  1. You will receive as a gift from the HUC-JIR Alumni Association  Tikkun Kor'im Ha-Meduyak: Ish Matzliach, B'nei-B'rak: Machon Harav Matzliach,
  2. In past years, students have received as a gift from the Men of Reform Judaism the Jastrow Dictionary of the Talmud. We are hopeful that this tradition will continue for you.
  3. Many teachers put together a reader for their courses, some will be online as well. At registration when you arrive you will be asked to pay for booklets used by teachers instead of or in addition to the required books:
    • NIS 480 for Rabbinic/Education students
    • NIS 800 for Cantorial students
  4. It is worth checking whether the books you need are available online and/or as an app. Shop around for prices on sites such as iBooks, Kindle, Google Books and Nook Books. 
  5. The library on campus has all of the books that you will need.
  6. English language books for pleasure reading are available in the library and at several bookstores in Jerusalem.


Biblical History

This course will be taught in the fall 2020 term. Buy the book in the States.

The Oxford History of the Biblical World. Oxford University Press. ed. Coogan, Michael David. 1998.

Available digitally.


Hebrew and Grammar

"עברית מן ההתחלה""Ivrit Min Ha'Hatchala", both the yellow and red books. These are only used in Kita Aleph and Bet so if you think you will be in one of those classes and already own the books, bring them. If not, we will organize a group purchase after you arrive. Otherwise, there are no books that you have to bring for Hebrew and Grammar. But expect to buy books here (NIS 100 - 200) according to your Hebrew level.

This book has work pages included in it, and so a hard copy should be purchased.

The following books are available in our library but if you already own them, you might want to bring them (but remember that similar tools are available online and/or as apps):

  •  A Practical Grammar for Classical Hebrew, Jacob Weingreen (Not available digitally)
  • 501 Hebrew Verbs, S. Bolozky (Not available digitially)
  • Rav-Milon Hebrew-English Dictionary (Not available digitally)


Israel Seminar

Buy, bring with you and be familiar with it in advance Israel: A History (The Schusterman Series in Israel Studies) by Anita Shapira. Available digitally.



The Rabbinics instructors put together a reader for their courses containing the required readings.
Books that are recommended not mandatory:

  • Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash, H.L. Strack & G. Stemberger, second edition (or later), Minneapolis: Fortress Press 1996.
    • Available digitally.
  • The Cambridge Companion to the Talmud and Rabbinic Literature (eds. C.E. Fonrobert & M.S. Jaffee), Cambridge 2007
    • Available digitally.
  • If you own Back to the Sources, Barry Holtz, you may find it useful as a reference book, but not necessary to go out and buy it.

Parashat HaShavuah

Students will be provided with a copy of The Torah: A Women's Commentary on year-long loan from our library. You will be gifted your own copy by the Women of Reform Judaism when you arrive Stateside for your second year of study.


Mishkan T'fillah

All students must bring a copy - the non-transliterated version. You can purchase a hard copy, a travelling copy or download it to your laptop or ipad.   The instructor will use the hard copy, so we recommend buying this version, but if you choose to purchase a travelling copy, which is useful on tiyulim, you certainly will be able to use it, just the page numbers are different.  You can order hard and travelling copies online here. There is a 20% discount for students. To receive your discount, please write to the Customer Service Department at

Siddur Rinat Yisrael (Ashkenaz)

If you own it already, bring it, otherwise you will buy it in a group purchase.

The Koren Sacks Siddur or Ha-Siddur Ha-Shalem Philip Birnbaum, is recommended as an optional purchase for a good English/Hebrew traditional siddur to complement the Rinat Yisrael.

If you own Entering Jewish Prayer, Reuven Hammer, bring it. Otherwise you will need to purchase it here through HUC-JIR as it is a required text for all students for Introduction to Liturgy. It is also available digitally. 


Cantillation books for Rabbinic and Education Students

Rabbinic and Education students are required to take a cantillation course for which you will need:

The Art of Torah Cantillation: A Step by Step Guide to Chanting Torah. 

Students may also opt to take an additional cantillation course for which you will need:

The Art of Cantillation, Volume 2: A Step by Step Guide to Chanting Haftarah and M'gilot

Both books should be purchased in America either hard-copy or digital.


Books for Cantorial Students

Cantorial students should expect to spend $250-300 on books/music.

A. Required books that SSM students should buy in the States either hard-copy or digital.

Cantor Marshall Portnoy and Cantor Josee Wolf, The Art of Torah Cantillation: A Step by Step Guide to Chanting Torah. New York: UAHC Press, 2000 and later editions.

Cantor Marshall Portnoy and Cantor Josee Wolf, The Art of Cantillation, Volume 2: A Step by Step Guide to Chanting Haftarah and M'gilot, New York: UAHC Press, 2001 and later editions.

Pinchas Spiro, Complete Weekday Service: A Musical Siddur, New York: Cantors Assembly, 1980 and later editions.

Motti Regev and Edwin Seroussi, Popular Music and National Culture in Israel, University of California Press 2004


B. Books that SSM students should bring with them if they have them

You will need (also available in Israel):
Joel N. Eglash (ed.), The Complete Shireinu, 350 fully notated Jewish songs, New York: Transcontinental Music Publications, 2001 and later editions.

Jeffrey Siovitz (ed.) Zamru Lo – Next Generation, volumes 1 and 2, New York: Cantors Assembly, 2005